Recent Why SERVPRO Posts

4 Stages of a Roof Leak

5/6/2020 (Permalink)

Close up view of man using removing rotten wood from leaky roof. Regularly inspect the condition of the roof on a commercial building in Hilshire Village, TX

4 Stages of a Roof Leak

A roof leak can cause water damage gradually or quickly. Here are four stages through which a leak may proceed, from an initial incident to further damage that increases the risk of black mold.

1. Roof Damage Occurs
Any damage a roof suffers may cause a leak. Falling branches, flying debris, high winds or large hail can undermine roofing. Missing materials or a broken seal could permit water to work its way down through lower layers of roofing and penetrate the building envelope.

2. Membrane or Underlayment Suffers Damage
Depending on the type of roof, a lower layer membrane or underlayment may be the next to sustain damage. These materials protect the roof deck and interior of a structure. More extensive or prolonged damage may allow water to work through these protective layers. Even if roof damage is identified before the interior of a structure is affected, these layers of roofing may require repairs.

3. Insulation and Interior Suffers Damage
Once water penetrates through a roof, insulation is often the next layer of a structure to suffer water damage. Cellulose insulation that becomes saturated will need to be torn out and replaced to reduce the risk of black mold. Water leaking into a structure can eventually cause a ceiling leak and interior water damage.

4. Mold Risk Rises
Any damp materials increase the risk of mold in a building. As water damage may not be immediately apparent and the attic may remain undisturbed for long stretches of time, a roof leak is likely to support the growth of mold.
Regularly inspect the condition of the roof on a commercial building in Hilshire Village, TX, especially after severe weather. Fix any damage as soon as possible. Once water leaks into lower layers of roofing, insulation, or the interior of a structure, more extensive repairs, restoration, or black mold remediation may be necessary.

Top Mold Damage Costs Explained

4/24/2020 (Permalink)

Person hand measuring the wetness of a moldy wall Testing for mold

3 Costs To Expect When It Comes To Mold Remediation

The average homeowner may not have an estimate for removing mold, but they know that it’s costly. Understanding what is involved in removing mold form your Houston,TX , home can help you know how much to expect to spend. Here are the top three costs to expect when it comes to mold remediation.

Why Mold Happens

Mold is the product of microorganisms that can grow inside or out, on most any surface so long as the environment is moist and dark. Indoors, some of the most common places for mold are:

  • Leaky roofs
  • Beneath sinks
  • Crawl spaces

Since black mold removal is a multi-step process that must be done properly to ensure mold doesn’t keep coming back, it can be costly.

Mold Inspection

One of the first costs involved with mold removal is the mold inspection itself. This is when an expert comes in to examine your home, looking at potential problem areas. This can range from looking in obvious places like attics to more out of the way places, like air ducts. Expect to pay $300 to $900.

Mold Testing

Testing for mold is another way this fungus can cost you big. Mold isn’t always visible to the naked eye and in some cases, its smell is the only clue. Mold testing samples air to find toxins produced by mold. This can cost of a few hundred dollars.

Mold Remediation

The actual removal of mold and restoration of mold-damaged property is where prices are highest. This can involve replacing drywall and carpeting, as well as deep cleaning and deodorizing fabrics. It’s not uncommon to pay upwards of $6,000 or even much more.

Mold removal can cost a pretty penny, but the cost of not removing it - to your home and your health - is much higher. If mold is bothering you, call up your local mold remediation expert to start the removal process.

Get the Facts on Mold

3/23/2020 (Permalink)

Aspergillus Niger is green and pink mold Aspergillus, mold found in food and heating and cooling systems

Get the Facts on Mold

Mold is not as complicated as quantum physics, but it is still an area that harbors a number of misconceptions. As with just about anything, it is important to get the facts right. Mold is a fungus. A number of different mold types can be found in a home, including the following strains:

  • Aspergillus, an allergenic mold found in food and heating and cooling systems
  • Cladosporium, a mold that looks black or green
  • Stachybotrys atra, also known as black mold

Mold damage can occur from any of these three common types of mold. All mold is non-toxic to humans, but some molds can cause rashes, watery eyes and sneezing in some individuals. Mold thrives on moisture and grows on paper, tiles, wood, drywall, carpeting, wallpaper, and other surfaces.

Mold Is for Experts

There is much more to learn about mold, but most people are content to leave mold remediation to the professionals. Technicians have been trained in the nuances of mold growth and are capable of testing to detect the presence of mold in a home in Spring Valley, TX. Experts can also develop a plan to contain mold, limit mold damage and address the conditions that allowed mold to grow in the first place. With the use of physical barriers, HEPA vacuums, and anti-fungal and antimicrobial cleaning agents a mold remediation company has the tools to clear up a mold problem.

Mold Is Seldom Good

Mold has been around for millions of years and is present just about everywhere, but it is a serious situation when mold colonies grow in a home. While mildew growth is often unsightly, it can be handled with a basic cleaner and a good brush, but mold growth requires a more systematic approach. The effects of mold damage can be extensive and can even cause harm to paintings, photographs, and rare books. The fact is that mold can be a serious matter in the home.

The Hows and Whys of Document Restoration

1/22/2020 (Permalink)

Wet documents When documents are affected by water damage, always call in a team of professionals that are Here to Help

The Hows and Whys of Document Restoration

A big storm, a building fire or a flood can do a number on just about everything a business owns. Knowing how to deal with water removal, mold abatement, smoke odors, and other issues is a must for a professional disaster mitigation franchise. The process of document restoration is one area that requires expertise, training, and the right equipment. With the proper procedures the following materials can be salvaged in many situations:

  • Photographs and films
  • Paper documents
  • Maps and blueprints
  • Books and magazines
  • Parchment

Successful restoration involves state-of-the-art technology and experienced technicians. A fast response to damaged documents increases the chance of success.

Why Document Restoration Is Needed

Any major upheaval to a business in Houston, TX, could result in damaged documents. A flood could bring in dirty water that coats papers and photographs with contaminated bacteria and chemicals. A fire could result in soot damage to materials. To prevent these important, historic or valuable materials from being lost forever, a meticulous restoration process can save them. With advanced document drying and cleaning techniques, these materials can still be retained in the company archives and be accessible to employees. SERVPRO technicians know how important it is to recover these valuable documents.

How Restoration Is Accomplished

HIPPA master-certified technicians use the latest technology to restore documents. Vacuum freeze-drying methods and gamma irradiation technology are two options to dry, clean and sterilize paper and parchment. Technicians use many of the same methods employed by the Library of Congress and the National Archive and Records Administration. SERVPRO provides full-service document restoration. These measures, in addition to drying, include cleaning and disinfecting, re-jacketing, digitizing and deodorizing. The digital process uses a computerized inventory system that converts paper and photos to digital, thereby increasing storage, ease of access and durability of materials. When documents are affected by water damage, always call in a team of professionals that are Here to Help.

How Tarp Helps Your Roof Recover From Fire Damage

12/20/2019 (Permalink)

A fire destroyed five stores on the Atlantic City Board Walk Fire damage in a Spring Valley, TX building

It’s no secret that a fire can cause severe damage to any type of property. If your business in Spring Valley,TX, has been impacted by fire damage, it’s crucial to do what you can to prevent further harm. Applying tarp over your roof is an effective and reliable way to keep your entire building safe and to speed up the recovery process. Here are some of the major benefits of utilizing tarp services during the fire cleanup process.

Preventing Additional Damage

The risk of further damage is one of the most serious threats that you face after a fire. By applying tarp to your roof, you can keep your building well protected from additional harm. Tarp helps to shield against the following risks:

  • Wind damage
  • Water damage
  • Smoke or soot residue

With time, these forms of damage can cause severe harm to your business. Not only can they compromise the state of your commercial building, but they may also lead to costly repairs and replacements.

Keeping Vandalism at Bay
A business that has been destroyed by a fire is, unfortunately, a point of easy entry for thieves. If criminals break into your damaged building, they may gain access to valuable information and cause serious harm to your personal property. Fortunately, requesting tarp up services during a fire cleanup can deter thieves and keep your company safe.

Increasing Chances of Being Insured
If you’re looking for the right coverage after a fire incident, it’s worth noting that your policy may require you to protect your business with tarp over or board up services. By taking this step, you can demonstrate to your insurance carrier that you’re making an effort to prevent further damage. Be sure to have your roof tarped over during roof repair to be eligible for insurance.
Requesting tarp services allows your business to recover more quickly. For optimal results, be sure to take this important step after you call a fire damage restoration company for a fire cleanup.

Do Mold Remediation Professionals Need To be Certified?

11/24/2019 (Permalink)

3 green mold dots Mold removal licensing is required when damage exceeds a certain amount of square feet.

Do Mold Remediation Professionals Need To be Certified?

When your Bunker Hill Village,TX, home has been affected by mold, your insurance company may want you to work with a certified mold remediation company. The appropriate licensing and certification vary from one state to another, but there tend to be some similarities:

Certification is earned by technicians who have completed approved training.
Licensing and certification must be carried by both the company and the individual technicians.

Water damage often leads to mold or mildew growth, so the restoration company you hire must be qualified to treat the toxic substances.

Why Certification and Licensing Matters

Why is mold certification so important? The simple answer is that a certified mold remediation professional has completed specialized training to safely and effectively deal with mold. Certification proves that the professional has demonstrated the ability to complete mold and water cleanup with high-quality results. A certified mold removal specialist knows how to do this work while protecting the health and well-being of your home and family.

The Risks of Hiring Unqualified Workers

In unfortunate cases around the country, homeowners have hired companies or workers without appropriate licensing and certification. This is often prompted by low, low prices. An appropriate licensed and certified professional has overhead costs, such as training for employees and their insurance (including general liability and workers' compensation.) These costs affect the prices the professionals charge their customers. If you come across a company with very low prices, it's probably best to move on and find a different mold remediation company.

What To Expect From Qualified Professionals

Qualified professionals generally wear personal protection gear with high filtration masks, boots, and gloves. They'll seal off the mold-damaged area for containment. Specialized equipment, including HEPA air scrubbers and dehumidifiers, are brought to your home for thorough mold remediation. Antimicrobial cleaners and professional sealants may be used to prevent regrowth.
Before you hire professionals to clean up mold damage in your home, make sure they are fully qualified, insured, licensed, and certified mold technicians. Your insurance company may provide recommendations.

How To Test for Mold Accurately

9/19/2019 (Permalink)

Close-up of person hand wearing gloves measuring wetness of a moldy wall Mold testing in a Houston, TX home

Mold Testing in Your Home

Your home in Houston,TX, can start to smell musty during humid months. If that's the case, you may have a mold problem. To know for sure, you need mold testing. It's best to hire a certified inspector to test for mold in your house. A professional test can tell you things that a home kit won't.

What a Home Kit Misses

Mold spores are inevitably in the air in your home, and that's all a mold kit will reveal. To properly assess the problem, you need to know much more than that:

  • Location of the mold growth
  • Extent of the infestation
  • Type of mold

When you use a DIY mold kit, you are basically getting a positive result that there is mold in your home. This is information you already know, though, so it doesn't do you a lot of good. You will get information that is much more useful when you hire professionals to test your home.

What Professional Testing Finds

Mold remediation specialists recommend that all mold testing is done by certified professionals. Certification tells you that the technicians have undergone extensive training and have proven themselves worthy of the standard set by the IICRC. They can tell you exactly where you need mold cleanup and how much damage you have. If you are concerned about a particular type of mold in your home, they can get lab results that reveal whether or not your suspicions are correct. A professional mold test is instrumental in assessing the problem. It significantly increases your chances of getting rid of all the mold growth the first time so that mitigation technicians don't have to clean your home again when it returns.
If you need mold testing in your home, save yourself the cost of a DIY kit. It doesn't tell you everything you need to know. Instead, hire certified professionals so that you can properly identify the problem.

Bob Lanier Public Works Building

4/25/2019 (Permalink)

The outside of Bob Lanier Public Works Building

Due to a leak around the window, the Bob Lanier Public Works building needed SERVPRO’s assistance. We have been in the restoration business for 16 years and specialize in all water, fire and mold restoration. When we received the phone call from Bob Lanier, we instantly arrived at the scene.

Our highly trained technicians specialize in scoping the scene and assuring all areas of the property are dry. This particular job required water extraction, baseboard removal, custom equipment and drill hole procedures.

In addition, the technicians manually removed water with the of use of trash cans and utilized custom drying equipment to evaporate the remaining water. It is our protocol to always issue a moisture test to ensure the entire affected area is dry and the job is complete. If you are ever faced with water damage, we are available 24/7 and here to help!

Houston Police Department

4/25/2019 (Permalink)

The outside of Houston Police Department

SERVPRO can handle any water damage you encounter, no matter how big or small the job! The Houston Police Department gave us a call after being confronted with severe water damage. Their facility was filled up to 5 feet with standing water, requiring our immediate attention.

This job required water extraction, structure drying, detailed cleaning of the walls and surrounding sidewalk.First, they extracted all of the water from within the property and our highly trained technicians cleaned the interior of the security office. Second, they disinfected the walls, floors and windows. Lastly, they completed the job by thoroughly cleaning the bathroom and storage closet, as well as washing the exterior and surrounding sidewalk area.

SERVPRO believes in the power of the small details. We always ensure your property is completely scoped out and every aspect of the job is complete.

Lake Houston Wilderness Park

4/24/2019 (Permalink)

The outside of Lake Houston Wilderness Park

Lake Houston Wilderness Park called SERVPRO due to flooding issues on their property. Our top priority is to ensure the valuables and property are restored in a timely manner. Our restoration workers quickly arrived to the scene and performed a moisture test as well as brought the wood framing and exterior wood into a dry standard.

Due to the affected areas being wet, the technicians set up emergency equipment to dry the area while they were away. It’s very important to leave drying equipment out to ensure the building is 100% dry. This process not only prevents future damage, but also allows the remaining restoration process to begin. This particular location was revisited multiple times to add more drying equipment and ensure the entire property was dry.

SERVPRO promises to continue working until your place looks, "Like it never even happened.” No matter how big or small the job, we are here to help!

Memorial Home Health: Clean Up Fast After a Flood to Prevent Mold Infestations

12/26/2018 (Permalink)

green drying equipment lined up in a hallway It is imperative that everything is completely dry prior to the rebuilding process.

The Houston SERVPRO team at SERVPRO of Town & Country wants to remind all of our Houston area neighbors and friends that mold infestations are a real threat after a property experiences storm damage and flooding. The devastating and widespread floods our area has experienced these last few months have taken a toll on homeowners and business owners alike, and now, many are finding that the mold cleanup and remediation is as intense as the original water damage cleanup.

In our area, mold starts to develop and grow within 48 hours of water damage. That is why it is imperative that water extraction, drywall and carpet removal, cleaning, and dehumidifying begins as soon as it is safe to do so. Remember, if your home recently flooded, your electrical wires and gas lines may have suffered significant and potentially hazardous damage. Prior to beginning any work onsite, it is important that you verify that utilities companies have shut off electricity and gas. Do not assume they are shut off, putting your safety at risk for even just a “sneak peek” before you have confirmation that it is safe to do so.

IMPORTANT HOME SAFETY NOTE: If you enter your home after a flood, be mindful that wildlife may have sought refuge inside your home, particularly behind or in furniture, in closets, attics, and other dry areas. Use caution in any interactions with snakes and other animals, and be aware that sharp debris is likely lurking in standing water. Always wear appropriate protective footwear, clothing, gloves, and eyewear if you enter the water.

When our team arrives on scene, they will begin to assess and evaluate the damage done to your home by floodwaters, a broken water pipe, sewage backup, or a fire. We can typically start the restoration process immediately, and we can even work directly with your insurance company and adjuster throughout the cleanup and rebuilding process. Our team will start by extracting the water. At this point, further assessment of the damage your property has sustained will be completed. The Houston SERVPRO team uses the finest commercial tools, and all of our team members undergo extensive training on industry-leading best practices to ensure that your home gets the finest care available.

After water is extracted, the team will begin the process of removing drywall and flooring (if necessary), and the general cleaning and disinfecting. Next, the drying and dehumidifying stage can begin. This is the stage that often frustrates homeowners, as it takes longer than expected. However, do not rush this step, as it is imperative that everything is completely dry prior to the rebuilding process. If insulation, structural supports, subfloors, and other elements are not completely dry, mold will develop behind new walls and flooring.

Remember, any time your home experiences residential water damage, it is an emergency. That is why your locally owned and operated SERVPRO of Town & Country has team members ready to respond 24 hours a day. The sooner we can get in and start the process, the better chance we have of keeping your home in the Houston metro area from getting a potentially harmful mold infestation in the coming weeks and months.

About Town & Country SERVPRO

The SERVPRO team of Town & Country is Faster to Any Size Disaster, helping residential and commercial property owners when disasters strike. We are experts in the field of mold remediation, water damage, flood and fire cleanup, and other events that damage your property. In addition to serving our neighbors in northwest Houston, we proudly serve surrounding communities.

How Long Before a Leaky Roof Leads to Mold?

11/26/2018 (Permalink)

Mold damage on ceiling in Hillshire Village,TX

Mold may begin to form within 24 to 48 hours after water damage. A roof leak poses a particular risk because it may not be detected within this window of time. These leaks can cause mold to grow on insulation or behind cavity walls in a commercial structure in Hilshire Village,TX. Here are a few ways to prevent black mold or other types of fungus from forming in the hours and days after a roof or ceiling leak.

When You Discover a Leak

As soon as a leak becomes apparent, a building owner should take immediate action to mitigate damage. This may include:

  • Contacting a roofer for tarping services
  • Using containers to collect dripping water
  • Scheduling a consultation with a restoration service

These steps can limit the amount of damage and risk of mold after a roof leak. Closely monitor the condition of a roof and ceilings, particularly after adverse weather.

After the Leak Is Fixed

After roofers address the source of a leak, it is important to immediately pursue mitigation. Black mold and other types of fungus flourish in environments that are:

  • Moist
  • Provide nutriment
  • Remain undisturbed

Restoration professionals can promote drying anywhere in a building. These experts can also recommend which materials should be torn out and replaced.

Ways to Prevent Damage

While it may not be possible to avoid a leaking roof, there are several preventative steps that building owners can take. It can be helpful to:

  • Schedule regular roof inspections
  • Ensure building materials remain dry
  • Maintain low interior humidity levels
  • Seal a building envelope

Mold cannot grow without moisture. Spores require a damp environment to become a problem.

A leaky roof can lead to mold growth in as little as one to three days. A building owner should hire water damage mitigation specialists in Hilshire Village,TX, who are also skilled in black mold prevention and remediation.

4 Tips for Commercial Property Hurricane Preparedness

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

Practice often drills in your Houston,TX business

Steps To Keep Your Commercial Property Safe

Hurricane season tends to run from June through the end of November. This long season could leave property management officials feeling constantly worried about potential storms – unless those professionals have prepared to control and reduce hurricane damage with an effective scheme of preparedness. Use the following steps to keep your commercial properties safe.

1. Discuss Potential Hazards With Insurance Professionals

The right insurance coverage can mean peace of mind when storms roll through Houston,TX. Discuss the options with the insurance representative to be sure you have the protection you need. While you're speaking with the agent, you may get important tips and advice regarding hurricane preparedness, specific to your type of buildings and the surrounding environment.

2. Gather Necessary Emergency Supplies

If you or your employees are on your property during an emergency, there are several supplies you'll want on hand.

  • Water
  • Non-perishable foods
  • First aid kits
  • Medications
  • Emergency lighting, such as flashlights
  • Blankets
  • Radios
  • Batteries

3. Post Evacuation Routes and Important Phone Numbers

Panic can lead to a lot hurricane damage, so an important part of your hurricane preparedness plan is keeping emotions in check. If the residents and staff of your properties are familiar with the safest routes out of the building and out of the neighborhood when advised, they are less likely to panic while following that route. Take this property management one step further by scheduling routine drills.

4. Keep Emergency Numbers Convenient

Keep emergency contact numbers near the posted evacuation plan. Some of the numbers to include on this list are FEMA, the American Red cross, the hurricane helpline, and professionals who are responsible for overseeing your properties. Learn more about this step by contacting emergency recovery companies in Houston,TX.

Enjoy Peace of Mind

Keep your properties and clients safe from as much hurricane damage possible by putting these four tips into place as soon as possible. Prevention does go a long way toward reducing losses. If you're prepared, you'll be ready to activate your emergency plan as soon as storm warnings are posted.

Are Your Fire Sprinklers Operational?

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

Have a professional test yearly your fire sprinkler system

Fire sprinklers can suppress or extinguish a fire, regardless of whether a building is occupied or vacant. Schedule the following fire sprinkler checks, tests, and inspections to make sure that the fire suppression system in a building is operational.

Weekly, Monthly, and Quarterly Checks

Property owners should regularly inspect sprinkler system components. NFPA Standard 25 recommends:

  • Inspecting gauges on a weekly or monthly basis
  • Checking alarm and signal devices, control valves, and hydraulic nameplates every three months
  • Testing mechanical devices several times a year

These inspections are necessary, but are not sufficient to ensure that a system is functional. Annual testing is also necessary.

Yearly Inspections

A professional service should test a fire sprinkler system on a yearly basis. This procedure goes beyond regular checks performed throughout the year, and involves:

  • Full testing and tagging
  • Physical checks on the complete system
  • Inspecting bracing, pipes, and fittings
  • Checking information signage and backup sprinklers

The combination of annual testing and regular inspections throughout the year can help to ensure that a fire suppression system will work properly in the event of an emergency.

Every Five Years Or More

More comprehensive inspections, testing, and equipment replacement should take place every five years. Testing of specific types of sprinkler systems can be scheduled at longer intervals. Here are several long-range maintenance requirements:

  • Check sprinkler piping every five years
  • Replace sprinklers exposed to high temperatures every five years
  • Replace gauges every five years
  • Test or replace dry sprinklers every 10 years
  • Test fast-response sprinklers after 20 years and then every 10 years
  • Test standard response sprinklers after 50 years and then every 10 years

Property owners should retain records of recent fire sprinkler inspections and tests. If a fire stars and fire sprinkler cleanup is necessary, contact damage mitigation and restoration experts in Spring Valley,TX. A sprinkler system should also be re-inspected following a fire.